Rugby

Conor O'Shea Believes Ian McKinley's Incredible Story Should Be A Movie

Conor O'Shea Believes Ian McKinley's Incredible Story Should Be A Movie

There is a shocking lack of decent rugby films out there, so hopefully there was a director or two listening to 2FM's Game On on Thursday that can take Conor O'Shea's suggestion and run with it.

The Italy coach was praising the inspirational comeback of Ian McKinley, who was forced to retire six years ago shortly after making his debut having lost sight in his left eye. A few years later McKinley re-emerged in the third tier of Italian rugby, and from there he signed for Treviso before earning a call-up to the Italy squad for next month's tests.

O'Shea revealed that he had a long chat with Joe Schmidt - the man who gave McKinley his Leinster debut - after the Six Nations meeting between Ireland and Italy last year, before continuing to express how blown away he was by McKinley's attitude and mental strength.

Ian is a guy who can control a game really well. He attacks the line. I remember sitting down for a post-match meal with Joe after the Ireland-Italy game last Six Nations and talking about Ian.

Joe really rated him, massively rated him. His injury, I have no doubt, stopped an Irish career. No doubt. It's probably a movie in itself.

You hear about people overcoming the odds. This is over and beyond. To go on a rugby pitch after what he's gone through, and to play as well as he does, is a real achievement. For pure perseverance, against absolutely all the odds, for what he's done in terms learning the language - it would put you to shame - he is just an exceptional role model in terms of having that mental toughness to never accept 'no'.

McKinley still has a fight on his hands to secure a spot in the final 23-man Italy squad for the games against Fiji, Argentina, and South Africa next month, but he has already made a lasting impression on the coach.

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O'Shea isn't wrong either, McKinley's story truly is inspirational and far less impressive comeback stories have been adapted to film in the past, but as there seems to be more to come from the former Leinster man, perhaps it's worth holding back on writing the screenplay just yet.

Hopefully he can make the final squad, as there would be a lot of Irish fans cheering on Italy in their games next month if he did.

You can listen to Conor O'Shea on Game On over on 2fm.rte.ie.

Mikey Traynor

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